Reflections on Luminaria 2022

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The author takes the stage at Luminaria

Jenna Cao, Senior Editor

It is 7:00 in the evening, and people are slowly filing their way through the open doors of the library. They walk past the concession tables stacked with donuts and coffee and into the presentation hall, getting seated and comfortable to watch Athens Academy’s showcase of the arts. 

Luminaria is a free event on campus that showcases Athens Academy’s fine arts department through performances from the students. There are musical performances from the orchestra and band, artwork displays from the Senior Portfolio class, and readings from creative writing students. 

Different from last year’s event, the 2022 Luminaria showcase, held on March 2, was conducted entirely in-person. 

This year, creative writing students from the Honors Writing for Publication class and those whose work was published in the 2021 Athens Academy Literary Review were given the opportunity to read their work for an audience. 

When my short story “How to Be an Older Sister” was published in the Literary Review last year, it pushed me to realize that I should continue challenging myself to improve my communication skills. It was a wonderful experience to be invited to share my writing with a larger audience.

By encouraging myself to work hard, my creative writing skills have evolved and improved over the years. By prioritizing sharing my work with the community, I have become a better spokesperson, writer, and somebody that actively seeks to expand my comfort zone. 

As I walked up to the stage, I could feel eyes burning holes into my back. Very quickly I found myself standing in front of the audience, holding my breath, and gripping the cold black microphone in between my clasped hands. 

Catching the sight of a waving hand in front of me was the saving grace I needed. Being surrounded by  respectful and supportive community members gave me the encouragement to find my voice.

This showcase let me show off my writing, which is something I am very glad I took advantage of, and is also something that I encourage younger students to do. There is tremendous support for the fine arts on Spartan Lane, and students should utilize all of the wonderful opportunities open to them by taking classes to improve their skills or just to have fun. 

Students should also be encouraged to attend events like Luminaria and other fine arts performances  because it’s important that we continue acknowledging and supporting the arts on campus. It is a great way to build and grow our campus community.